Hot Compost

Last week, we had the pleasure to discover and produce hot composting. 

This method uses microbial activity that accelerates the process of composting much faster than the cold one. To make composting work, there must be an equilibrium between the combination of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and humidity

Material and process

‘’Brown’’ materials are more high in carbon and typically dry and the decomposing course is very slow. On the contrary from ‘’green’’ materials, rich in nitrogen which decompose very quickly. This mixture gives life to the microbes reaching an optimum temperature of 55-65 °C (131-149 °F). Hot enough to kill harmful bacteria and give life to the microbial activity that we need in the pile, precisely a regularly monitored temperature  in order to create balance and maintain the life inside. Warning, more than 72°C is too hot and the process will not work.

For the formation of our compost, we have selected all our necessary materials, for the rich in carbon we have used dry leaves and straw, and for the green materials we have recollected some cutted grass from the cold compost, horse manure as well as fresh grass and other rich lives in nitrogen.

(In this picture we can see the happiness of collecting horse manure!)

How to do it

The size of the compost was one cubic meter, and to establish a base, we put some cutted branches that determined the shape of our pile and favored air transfer. 

After that, we covered the bed with straw, brown lives and the muck, adding some water to have a constant humidity

The second step is to add all the nitrogen  materials, the fresh grass combined by different types of greenery selected carefully. Also including a compost activator is very positive for the pile, in our case we use old compost.

 The shape is important to maintain the same level all the time, avoiding the ‘’pyramid’’ shape, to increase microbial activity in the same way in all the mounds. Furthermore, before the repetition of this process is important to keep all the oxygen active inside our pile by putting the fork inside the pile.

Finally, to conclude, we can see the result of our compost, measuring more or less one cubic meter. In the top it’s beneficial to add some compost activator.

After the first step

The process is 30 days long, and the pile has to be removed and built again 5 times in this period. So between the fifth and seventh day we made a new pile, the original one has become half size

The idea is to keep the same shape with smaller area and same height. You have to remove the stuff up, flip it and put it at the bottom of the new pile. Keeping humidity is good, if you have rainy days, don’t add more water.

Good signs when doing this new pile are : good smell, no smoke (that would mean too hot compost), white powder that is fungus (picture).

Frida and Nathan.

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